reform jewish synagogue

How an Asian Convert to Judaism became Unlikely Leader of Unusual Synagogue


What do a Japanese rabbi, a Korean church and a Chinese restaurant have in common? For Temple Isaiah of Great Neck, on Long Island, N.Y., the answer’s no punch line. The three components have all played a crucial role in the congregation’s colorful 46-year history. For 37 years, this Reform congregation held the majority of […]

Israel Inaugurates New Mixed-Prayer Plaza


About a dozen women sit underneath a large Israeli flag at Judaism’s holiest site, the Western Wall. They’ve been here close to 24 hours, and are getting tired. They are members of Women of the Wall (WOW), a 25-year-old group of women from all denominations that wants equality for women at the Western Wall. Currently […] Newsletter Issue # 82 – June 26, 2013

Catherine Afarian calls herself a “love child of the ‘70s.” Her mother discovered that she was pregnant after she had broken off a relationship of less than a year. Afarian has never met her biological father, but her mother always said he came from a big Italian family. In late 2010, though, Afarian learned that a […]

Non-Congratulations to the New Non-Rabbis

Thirty years ago, in 1983 we were happy to start sending our women Jewish Studies major graduates at the University of Minnesota to train to become rabbis in the Reform movement. We told them to go out and become full head rabbis of synagogues, not assistants or educational directors. Some did. We were proud. This […]

Reform Rabbi Peter Rubinstein Resigns from Central Synagogue

Rabbi Peter Rubinstein informed congregants of Manhattan’s Central Synagogue that he will step down from his post as senior rabbi at the end of June, 2014. “What will be a 23-year season of my rabbinate at Central Synagogue has been exquisite and poignant,” Rubinstein wrote in an email circulated among congregants on March 13. “But […]

Cambridge and Oxford Set Sights on Jewish Genizah

Cambridge and Oxford universities announced on Friday that they will be conducting a collaborative fund-raising effort aimed at purchasing the Lewis-Gibson Genizah Collection before it is sold off to private collectors. Currently owned by the United Reformed Church’s Westminster College in Cambridge and worth about $1.6 million, it is made up of 1,700 fragments of […]

Texting Teshuva in Shul: Tech Savvy or Tacky?

There was undoubtedly more texting in shul this Rosh Hashanah than in past years. In most liberal congregations texting was likely done as discreetly as possible; often with a cellphone hidden low in one’s lap. In some congregations the texting may have been done more overtly outside in the synagogue lobby or perhaps outside the […]

Hawaii Temple Beset by Controversy Elects New Board, Ousting Rabbi

Hawaii’s largest temple, beset by synagogue politics that spurred a violent incident and allegations of “Nazi-like propaganda,” cemented the ouster of its rabbi with the election of a new board. Cliff Halevi won Sunday’s election, becoming the new board president of Honolulu’s Temple Emanu-El, the only Reform temple on the island of Oahu. In May, […]

Chabad Builds First Shul in Tacoma Since 1968

After a two-year legal battle and nearly a year of construction, an Orthodox Jewish group is about to open its $2.4 million synagogue and education building between two houses on Tacoma’s West End. Rabbi Zalman Heber calls the completion of the brick-and-wood structure “history in the making.” It provides a traditional-style synagogue for practicing Orthodox […] Newsletter Issue # 32 – May 30, 2012

Two bronze sculptures created by artist Sigalit Landau have been stolen from the yard of an art collector in Herzliya. The two statues, “Vomitus-Narcisus,” created in 2007, and “Stranded on a Watermelon in the Dead Sea,” from 2009, were both placed in the collector’s yard during the past year. Each of the sculptures, which were […]

Temple Jacob in Hancock Michigan Celebrates its Centennial Anniversary

Temple Jacob in Hancock, Michigan will mark its centennial anniversary with a 3 day celebration August 9–12, 2012.  This historic building, at the north end of the Portage Lift Bridge separating Houghton and Hancock, has its roots in the copper mining boom of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.   Preparations are under way for this once in a […]

Mark Zuckerberg Gets Married to Priscilla Chan

In the run up to the big Facebook initial public offering this past week, the media went Facebook crazy and tried to get interviews from everyone connected to Mark Zuckerberg. Of course that included the rabbi of his childhood congregation. In an article on The Scarsdale Daily website, Rabbi David Holtz of Temple Beth Abraham was quoted […]

The Burlesque Poetess: A Jewess with “Artitude”

Jojo Lazar is a Boston-based multimedia visual and performance artist with a dizzying portfolio of projects. She puts her MFA in Poetry and love of vaudeville to work performing as “The Burlesque Poetess.” She plays the ukulele in the steam-crunk band, “Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys,” and with Meff in “The Tiny […]

Wolpe Heads ‘Newsweek’’s List of 50 Top Rabbis

Conservative Rabbi David Wolpe heads the annual list of America’s top 50 rabbis put out by Newsweek Monday. Wolpe, who moved up from the number two spot last year, heads the largest Conservative congregation on the West Coast and has played a prominent public role defending faith nationwide, is followed by Chabad movement leader Yehuda […]

Closeted orthodox guy attends reform minyan

A few years ago my friends took me to my first Reform service, in fact it was the first non-Orthodox davening of any type that I had attended and I felt pretty awkward going. Growing up Orthodox you hear some pretty nasty rhetoric about anyone who isn’t Orthodox and so I figured they must think […]

Shliach to Serve as Chaplain at London Olympics

Redbridge rabbis will have a significant presence as chaplains at the Olympic Games, after it was confirmed four will be providing first-hand support to athletes and visitors. Among them Shliach Rabbi Moshe Muller the assistant director of Chabad Lubavitch Ilford Center. The four that will be in the Olympic Village during the Olympic and Paralympic […]

A JewBulicious Transition

We’ve had some tumultuous changes over at the home synagogue this summer. The rabbi of 20+ years departed after months of drama worthy of its own reality show (“The Real Meshuggenehs of Savannah“?) and the congregation is finally peeking its collective head out to choose a new spiritual leader. Not that agreeing on a new […]

Why the current use of the term “Torah Jew” is a chillul hashem

Found this interesting piece on the blog To Kiss a Mezuzah and received permission to re-post here. By Susan Esther Barnes We Jews seem to have a lot of labels for ourselves these days. Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, Modern Orthodox, Chasidic, Renewal, Reconstructionist, Humanistic; the list goes on. In some ways, the labels can be useful. […]

Rabbis slam attack on Reform synagogue

A number of rabbis and public figures from the city of Raanana have signed a letter strongly condemning the desecration of a local Reform synagogue. “This act, like other acts of violence, saddens all of us,” the letter said. “We stress that the Torah condemns any act of violence and harm to our fellowman.” The synagogue’s […]

Media Matters: Glenn Beck says Reform Rabbis are like Radicalized Islam

Glenn Beck says that Reform rabbis are like radicalized Islam because they took out an ad asking for his termination. (a) Glenn Beck, come to my local synagogue where an Orthodox rabbi talks radical right wing politics every week. (b) Have you lost your mind making such comparisons? No wait, obviously you have. Here is […]

History timeline of Jewish life in Poland

1098 Information about the Jews in Poland has began to be publicize in Polish chronicles 1170 Warsaw Jews administered the Polish mint. Many coins had Hebrew inscriptions. 1203 Jews were granted freedom to have their own land in Galicia. 1264 The General Charter of Jewish Liberties known as the Statute of Kalisz was issued by […]

History Timeline of Jewish People in America

History Timeline of Jewish People in America

1630 Holland captures Pernambuco, Brazil from the Portuguese and invites Jewish settlement. A significant Jewish community develops in Recife.  (Recife is the 4th largest metropolitan area in Brazil with 4,136,506 inhabitants. 1649 Solomon Franco was a merchant, who was granted a weekly stipend by the Puritan authorities on the condition that he leave on the […]

The Jewish Women: Inside the Synagogue

The Talmud states that women are generally exempted from doing Jewish religious activities. Orthodox Judaism stresses its importance especially that women have family obligations. There are a number of rules for Jewish women in the synagogues – some observed strictly by the Orthodox sect while other Jewish sects are more lenient about it (Conservative and […]

The Jewish Men in a Modern Society

For more than a thousand years, the role of Jewish men was never changed until the emergence of the Feminist movement and the revolutionary forms of Judaism which are now known as Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist Judaism. Nowadays, the role of Jewish men depends on his geographic location and his Jewish orientation as well as […]

Yes, Orthodox Judaism Changes Too

With all the talk of the changing narrative in the intermarriage conversation, the increased acceptance of gays and lesbians in synagogues, and the virtually across-the-board practice of egalitarian prayer in Conservative and Reform congregations, many Orthodox Jews claim that they are the only ones practicing “Torah true” Judaism and refusing to change course on any of […]

How to Apply Reform Judaism Into Your Life

Reform Judaism is a branch of Judaism that believes in the modernization of Judaism and Jewish traditions and that it should be compatible with participation in the surrounding culture. This branch of Judaism believes that Jewish laws should be regarded as set of guidelines rather than list of restrictions. Join a local Jewish class in your area. […]

How to Locate a Local Synagogue

A synagogue is a Jewish house of prayer. The synagogue is also a beit midrash (house of study). Synagogues have libraries where members of the Jewish community come to study. Many religious and non- religious activities are also held in synagogues. Finding a local synagogue is easy when you know where to start your search. With the […]

Things to Consider When Planning for a Jewish Wedding

Planning for a Jewsih wedding can be exciting and stressful at the same time. Aside from the usual wedding details, the bride and groom need to consider important factors with regard to the wedding ceremony. Whether you’re planning for an Orthodox, Conservative or Reform wedding, the list below will help you plan for a beautiful […]

Synagogues in the News

The experimental Nashuva (“We will return”) Friday night service involves “a band, meditation, reinterpreted prayers on a handout sheet, and a PowerPoint presentation” all in under 45 minutes. (New Jersey Jewish News) A synagogue finds itself in a legal battle over its large sign “Lyndi and Rodney Adler Sephardi Centre.” (Australian Jewish News)   In Northeast […]

The Holy Potato

The state of Idaho is not a place where one would expect to find many Jews, but that hasn’t stopped Chabad Rabbi Mendel Lifshitz and his wife Esther. They moved to Boise, Idaho five and a half years ago with the goal of building up the local Jewish community. When they arrived, they were greeted […]